Friday, January 30, 2009

Make It From Scratch

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When I was in the hospital for a month long stay during one of my pregnancies, I read The Complete Tightwad Gazette from cover to cover.

Have you ever seen how thick that thing is? Hey, I didn't have much else to do and it turned out to be the best use of a month in bed that I have ever spent.

The author, Amy Dacyzn, does some cost comparisons for several items that come prepackaged at the grocery store.

Bisquick, cake mixes, muffin mixes, pancake mixes, etc.

She discovered, almost without fail - and that only happened with extremely marked down mixes - that it was always cheaper to make it from scratch.

If you think about it, it really makes sense. When you are buying those shiny, colorful envelopes of muffin mix, you are paying for the photograph of the muffins, the packaging, and the advertising, right along with all the preservatives that have to be added to keep those so called "blueberries" from spoiling.

I keep flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in my pantry so there is really no reason for me to buy the mixes unless they are marked as a clearance item.

Using a mix may save a few minutes of prep time, probably less than 5, but it can add up to big bucks if mixes are all that are in a pantry.

It may not seem like a big deal to pay 50 cents or a dollar extra for a mix, but if you are feeding a large family three meals a day every day it really makes a difference.

Let's say I use two packages of muffin mix every day for breakfast instead of making the *muffins from scratch. I would estimate that extra cost to be only a dollar. In one year's time, that dollar becomes $365 that could have been saved.

If I serve Lunchables for lunch and use Hamburger Helper for dinner, I can multiply that figure (at least) by three, and that is over $1000 that could have been saved!

Make it from scratch and save that money! (See our recipe for Funfetti Cake from scratch.)

Be sure to check out Biblical Womanhood for more frugal tips.

*Make Your Own Muffins

1 Cup flour
1 Cup oats
1/4 Cup oil, peanut butter, or butter
1 Cup milk or juice
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
Up to 1 1/2 Cups of fruit (blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, applesauce, banana, etc)

Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.


BarbaraLee said...

I have my own version of a bisquick. I found it in a book. But it makes pancakes, muffins & biscuits.
The kids really like it. I double or triple the batch and stick it in a container.

Mom2fur said...

I've been in the mood to bake muffins from scratch, so I'll be using your recipe today. Thanks!

Jodi said...

I've adapted Amy's recipe a bit. I add 1/3 cup oil instead of 1/4 c. and I upped the sugar to 2/3c. I usually do 1 cup each white and whole wheat flour. But once you memorize the basic recipe (and her book goes over so many variations!) you can change it according to what you have on hand. And now I'm off to make some banana chocolate chip muffins!

Lene said...

Wow - I was just thinking yesterday that I should look up how to make some basic muffins. You read my mind! Kind of scary :) but I'm grateful for the recipe. Thanks.

Kris said...

I've come to prefer making most mix-type things from scratch where I can. I have discovered that we prefer the pizza dough mixes to homemade simply for time and convenience sake. And, the Wal-mart brand is only $0.44 a pouch.

Here's my problem with the muffins, though. My kids (you know, the weird, unsocialized homeschool ones) prefer the muffins with the imitation berries.

Yes, they have actually stated this preference outloud, immediately after having tried homemade muffins with fresh, delicious blueberries. What do you do with a comment like that? Where can you buy imitation blueberries??

Sherry said...

I'm all for making things from scratch. My daughter is so in tune to it that she can tell when something isn't from scratch. LOL!

Lene said...

Kris, I'm with your kids (but don't tell my mom - she's big into the fresh blueberry thing). Try canned or frozen - they are a bit less chewy!

Zombiemommy said...

This is my favorite book I got it from the library and devoured it! Thank you for getting the word out. I felt confident about cloth diapering to save money after reading her book. I also save butter wrappers to grease pans, save onion peels for stock, bread crusts for bread crumbs, so many things!

I also make pizza from scratch (so easy 2 3/4-3 cups of flour, 3 tsp yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup of warm water, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 cut water, (proof yeast per directions) since reading her book. I just throw everything in the bread maker and put it on dough cycle.

Also my other new thing was to do a price book, then I could see when something was really on sale and worth my time. Also great tip about saving up money to stockpile. I got 75 bucks worth of organic dairy for 25 bucks last month because it was on markdown, I froze most.

I found it was easier to just write all those basic Tightwad recipes on a paper on the inside of my cabinet, I use it often. White sauce, pizza dough, muffins and quiche! I love the quiche recipe (kids don't but hey I used up the leftovers).
Her regular muffin recipe is good, but I have always had trouble making successful muffins using leftover grains (oatmeal). Its a great idea, but it failed in my kitchen the 5-6 times I tried it.

Shari said...

LOVE the new look and I will be using the recipe in the morning. However, doubling it! I have three growing, hungry boys and one husband who likes to eat.

Amy said...

I made your muffins this morning. Doubled the recipe - some for us, some to take to friends. They were great! :)

Jen said...

Love the new look SmockityFrocks! I have always made things from scratch... attribute that to a pennypinching dh who doesn't like to go out ot eat or eat "prepared foods". Since we have been married, I gaurantee that 99.9 percent of our meals are from scratch, and they taste sooo good as compared to the others and are so much healthier! Thanks for the reminder of how frugal it really is.

Anita said...

Love The Tightwad Gazette. We have had vol. 1 and 2 for years and have used several of her tips. We make our own syrup for pancakes, waffles and biscuits (all homemade, of course!)

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